Posts filed under Montblanc

Montblanc Heritage 1912 Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I wasn't planning on buying another Montblanc, especially not one that retails for $1,100. But I saw one for sale on Fountain Pen Network for almost half the price of retail, and, in spite of misgivings about the seller (see last week's post "Remorse"), I purchased one.

By the time I made my purchase, I had read several reviews of the Heritage 1912. This pen seems to be one of those that you either love or hate. Some reviewers deride the white star/snow cap that makes up the entire finial of the cap, saying it is ostentatious. Some like the simple lines of the pen and others think it is boring. Some appreciate the mechanics of the pen (it works like a safety pen); whereas others find it cumbersome to use. But almost everyone agrees that the nib, though plain, is something special: springy with a tiny bit of flex, reminiscent of MB nibs from the old days.

My Montblanc Heritage 1912 arrived in bubble wrap and packaged in a cheap Eau de Toilette box. If you buy yours from a more reputable seller, you will likely get a nicer box. I don't know how brand new Montblanc Heritage 1912s are packaged, but I presume that the box is much nicer than mine.

I took my chances when I bought my pen from an untrustworthy seller on Fountain Pen Network. As a consequence, I got an imperfect pen. The exterior is marred by one very obvious chip near the piston and numerous scratches all over the pen (most of which you can't see unless you look through a macro lens, which I always do, so I see every imperfection).

Plus, as many other Heritage owners noted, the cap leaves scratches where it screws onto the barrel. At this price point, such a thing shouldn't happen. But since my pen already had scratches, I'm not too bothered by it.

The Montblanc Heritage 1912 is a small pen, measuring only 121mm in length capped and 126 mm with the nib extended. It fits my hand perfectly, but people with larger hands might find it a bit small, especially since you cannot post the cap. Even though the pen is small in length, the barrel is fairly large in diameter (from 10.2 to 13.1mm). It's a hefty pen, weighing 48 grams capped, 37 grams uncapped. So though it is small in length, it feels substantial in the hand. I find it quite comfortable to write with.

The gigantic white snowcap/star underneath a clear, resin dome reminds me somewhat of a snow globe. I've read that the star is either cut out of quartz or painted with mother-of-pearl lacquer. Either way, it dazzles in light. It's quite distinctive from other modern Montblanc stars and mimics the original white finial of the Simplo Safety Filler.

The clip also hearkens back to the safety pen on which the Heritage is modeled. It is platinum plated and unadorned except for the Montblanc star engraved on the back.

The clip doesn't even have the name "Montblanc" engraved on it, though thanks to this blog post, I discovered that the words "Made in Germany" are engraved under the clip. A serial number is also inscribed in tiny numbers and letters on the upper ring of the clip.

The pen uncapped looks unremarkable, much like the Writer's Edition Agatha Christie without a nib. The barrel is slightly thinner near the nib opening and widens closer to the knob. The knob is set off by grooves which match the grooves beneath the finial on the cap. That's it. The barrel of the pen is black, sleek, and simple.

The coolest thing about this pen is the mechanism that performs dual functions. If you twist the knob clockwise, the nib extends; counterclockwise, the nib retracts. Original safety pens did the same thing, and you filled them with an eyedropper.

But the Heritage is a piston filler. After extending the nib, you can pull the knob out and it functions as a piston.

Dip the nib into the ink of your choice, turn the knob, and the pen is filled with ink. Push the knob back in place and you're ready to write. I think this is absolutely ingenious. Though some complain that the pen doesn't hold much ink (about 0.8ml), I don't mind. I can fill it without the mess of an eyedropper. And, as far as I know, this is the first pen Montblanc has made with an extendable nib that doesn't require the use of cartridges.

The nib is 14K gold and rhodium-plated and Montblanc describes it as "soft elastic." Unlike most MB nibs with their intricate designs, this nib is fairly plain with a triangular breather hole. The MB star/snowcap symbol and the number 4810 are the only adornments on the nib, which is also stamped with the karats and the name Montblanc.

While the nib is by no means a vintage flex, it is springy and offers some line variation. The feed supplies plenty of ink and the nib writes smoothly. I've experienced no hard starts or skipping with this nib. I find it hard to describe why the writing experience is so special, but it is. This pen writes like no other pen I own.

The cap has a mechanism in it that prevents you from accidentally trying to cap the pen while the nib is extended. Yes, I've accidentally tried that once or twice. But this feature protects your nib.

The Montblanc Heritage 1912 is a solid pen. I can't stop writing with it. I love turning the knob and watching the nib emerge and disappear. (I am obviously easily entertained). Would I pay retail ($1,100) for this pen? No. I only bought this pen because it was priced well below retail. Admittedly, my pen was not in new condition (though it was described as such), and the seller gave me a partial refund. Ultimately, I bought this pen for less than half of its retail price. It is imperfect cosmetically, but it's a great writer, and that's what matters.

I highly recommend the Montblanc Heritage 1912 if you can afford it new or if you can find it at a really good price used (though I wouldn't recommend my seller). It's a beautiful, elegant, well-designed pen and an excellent writer.


  • The nib absolutely makes this pen. It has a bounce and slight flex to it that is reminiscent of vintage pens. It writes beautifully.
  • If you like understated, black pens with a simple retro clip and don't mind a big white snowcap on the top, you'll love this pen.
  • The mechanism for extending and retracting the nib and for piston filling is simply genius. It works smoothly and flawlessly.
  • The pen has a good balance to it in the hand, even though it is rather heavy and wide in diameter.
  • The Heritage 1912 is a piston filler.


  • Hoo boy, is this pen expensive!
  • Some people find the white star/snowcap too ostentatious for an otherwise simple pen. Me? I love it.
  • You cannot post the cap. If that matters to you, then it's definitely a negative for this pen. I never post, so it doesn't bother me.
  • To use the pen, you have to unscrew the cap and extend the nib. That's an extra step, and some people find that burdensome. I think that's part of the cool-factor for the pen. But, if you find it tedious to add the extra step of extending or retracting the nib, then you won't like this pen.
Posted on September 11, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pens, Montblanc, Pen Reviews.

Montblanc Blue Hour Ink Review

Twilight at Caprock Canyons, Texas

Twilight at Caprock Canyons, Texas

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

Montblanc "Blue Hour" or "Twilight" is "linked to the 'blue hour,' the time when the day turns to night," according to Montblanc's website. The ink comes in a 30ml square glass bottle adorned with the Montblanc emblem on the cap. It is a limited edition ink.

When I first saw a sample of this ink, I couldn't wait to purchase a bottle. It looked lovely with deep blue-green tones, sheen, and shading. I love blue inks, and I expected great things from Montblanc Blue Hour.

But when I inked my first pen with Blue Hour, I was disappointed. The ink didn't have the depth I was expecting. Where was the sheen? Where was the shading? And, worst of all, after I wrote a few pages and the ink dried, it faded to a sort of dusty bluish-green. You can see in the picture below how the ink is deep blue when it's fresh and dusty blue-green when it has dried.

I tried it in several different pens with various nib sizes and grew more disappointed. Broad nibs bring out the shading, but the ink was dry and unsaturated in my finer nibs.

The only way I was able to get sheen from the ink was in droplets. None of my writing samples, even with my super broad, flexible music nib, exhibited any sheen.

Chromatography demonstrates that the ink has blue, green, and yellow tones. I expected it to be more of a blue-black, but it leans more towards teal.

Blue Hour is not a wet, highly-saturated ink. When you do a smear test, it dries quickly. Obviously, the dry times will be longer with broader nibs, but not by much. The ink is not waterproof.

When I first used Blue Hour, I thought it resembled Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo. The two inks look similar, but Tsuki-Yo has more green and the color definitely doesn't fade. Tsuki-Yo also flows better, especially in fine nibs.

I'm glad Blue Hour came in the smaller 30ml bottle, because this is not an ink I will use much. After falling in love with Montblanc Toffee, I genuinely thought this would be a terrific ink. But it is dry; it fades, and it simply fails to impress.

Posted on August 7, 2015 and filed under Ink Reviews, Montblanc.

Montblanc Toffee Brown Ink Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

Montblanc Toffee Brown is a gorgeous brown ink with lots of character. It comes in a hefty Montblanc bottle with the MB star on the cap.

Some describe the bottle as a shoe shape. I honestly don't see a shoe–if it is a shoe, it's a clunky one. I just assumed that the shape was practical: you have a smaller reservoir when the ink runs low. But that will take a while. This bottle holds 60ml of ink.

The ink flows well, has no detectable odor, and no negative qualities that I could find. When compared with my two other brown inks (Iroshizuku Yama-guri and Tsukushi), Toffee had shades of green and pink in it. Yama-guri is more of a black-brown, and Tsukushi is a reddish-brown. Toffee is what I would call a golden-brown, though it does have pink/red tones.

Montblanc Toffee is now the standard ink for my M800 Tortoise with its triple broad oblique nib. Oh. My. Gosh. Just look at that shading! It has gradations from dark brown to toffee (thus the name).

The ink is not waterproof. Its dry times depend on the width of your nib, but the ink seems to be pretty wet. With this kind of shading, though, I don't mind waiting for the ink to dry.

I never thought I'd be a "brown ink person" (I gravitate towards blues). But I also tend to be a little OCD about inks matching my pens and vice versa. So, for my brown pens, I use brown inks. Toffee Brown has replaced the Iroshizukus at least for my broad nib. The color and shading are simply outstanding. But for my finer nibs, I still like Yama-guri and Tsukushi. I guess I just need to buy more brown pens!

Posted on June 5, 2015 and filed under Ink Reviews, Montblanc.

Montblanc JFK Navy Blue Ink Review

One of the readers of this blog is an ink junkie. I know this because I have received some of the most interesting, hard to find, limited, and discontinued ink samples in my mailbox from him. Sometimes I get the heads up, and sometimes, as was the case with this Montblanc JFK Navy Blue, they just show up.

I’m glad it did too, because this is a pretty great ink. While it isn’t marketed as blue black, one stroke with it makes it clear that it is. The blue is deep, with nice grey undertones. It’s by no means a pure dark blue, which is what I would think an ink named navy blue would dictate.

It reminds me a lot of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-kai not just in the way it looks, but in the way it shades and the way it performs. There is so much sublte character with inks like these and I think that is why I fall for them. To the naked eye they look like a normal business ink, but upon closer inspection there is a depth and uniqueness you don’t see in any blue ink.

I used up two fills from the sample vial before I went on the hunt to order some for my own stash. It’s a limited edition so you will have to poke around a little bit, but it shouldn’t be too hard to come by. I ordered mine from Fahrney’s Pens, which worked out swimmingly.

One note on the written review below: I used Tomoe River paper, and while it is flat out amazing for dailiy use, it’s not the best for reviews. It crinkles a bit, which manifests itself in odd lighting and shadows, and takes forever to dry, so dry time tests are invalid. I realized all of this once I was done, so after one other review that is already complete I will be moving my ink reviews back to a more standard paper.

Posted on January 23, 2015 and filed under Ink Reviews, Montblanc.